President Biden on Wednesday will host former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama at the White House together for the first time since he left office in 2017.
The Obamas are back for the official unveiling of their portraits, providing a rare opportunity for Biden to try to hitch Democratic midterm campaign messaging to the two-term former president.
Obama returned to the White House in April for the first time since leaving office in 2017 — getting so much attention from a crowd celebrating the 12th anniversary of ObamaCare that the Telegraph described Biden as appearing “lost.”
Michelle Obama has reportedly not been back to the White House since moving nearly six years ago to a nearby Washington mansion.
The former first lady, who famously tended to a White House vegetable garden, is well-regarded among Democrats for her strong speaking abilities and frequently registers as a potentially popular presidential candidate herself.
Michelle Obama delivered one of the 2020 Democratic convention’s most expressive and best-received appeals to vote out President Donald Trump, saying, “If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”
Although Biden was Obama’s vice president for eight years, there are signs that they weren’t particularly close.
After taking office last year, Biden admitted that he had never been to the White House “residence” or living quarters during Obama’s presidency. The residence has a sitting area and presidential office, in addition to bedrooms.
Obama, a freshman senator from Illinois when he won the 2008 Democratic nomination, picked Biden as his running mate in an apparent effort to balance the Democratic ticket with a more experienced politician with decades of DC experience.
Trump frequently mocked Biden’s poor performance in the 2008 Democratic primary, saying that Obama plucked “1% Joe” off the “trash heap.”
Ahead of the 2020 campaign, Obama reportedly discouraged Biden from running for president.
“You don’t have to do this, Joe, you really don’t,” Obama said in 2019, according to the New York Times.
In private conversations with other people, Obama reportedly was even more direct in expressing doubt about Biden, telling one fellow Democrat, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f–k things up,” Politico reported.
The former president even reportedly told a different 2020 candidate, “You know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden.”